Jerome Powell has the market thinking about 4 rate hikes in 2018



In contrast, soft inflation data in the euro zone dented expectations that the European Central Bank will dial back its stimulus this year, slamming the euro to six-week lows against the dollar and a six-month trough against the yen.

Yet not even a weaker than forecast barrage of economic stats could pull the dollar from its recent highs.

In Europe, stock indexes were mixed with France's CAC 40 close to flat and Germany's DAX down 0.3 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.7%.

Transportation, natural gas, and housing stocks also saw considerable weakness, moving lower along with most of the other major sectors.

Sea posted a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss and the departure of its president, who was the public face of its USA listing past year.

That is substantially more than the £10.75 per share or £11.4 billion that Fox has offered for the 61 percent of Sky it does not already own. "He may not have such an easy time today with the Senate Banking Committee". The surprise development will likely delay the entry to market of one of Celgene's most important pipeline assets. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 1.4 percent at 30,844.72, while the Shanghai Composite index stood at 3,259.41, down almost 1.0 percent.

Silver dropped 0.7 percent to $16.29 an ounce, hitting $16.16, its lowest since December 22.

Asian stocks skidded today after comments from the Federal Reserve's new chief rekindled fears about the pace of USA monetary tightening this year, sending Wall Street tumbling for its worst performance in two years and lifting the United States dollar.

Platinum fell nearly 1 percent to $973.50 per ounce, while palladium was flat at $1,042.47 per ounce.

But some investors speculated they could mean the central bank will get more aggressive in raising interest rates than the market has prepared for. A number of Democrats, however, sought to force Powell to criticize a range of Trump economic policies, from tax cuts the Democrats claimed would worsen income inequality, to huge budget deficits that are expected to make deficits climb toward $1 trillion annually.

In currency markets, the Canadian dollar closed at an average trading value of 78.07 cents USA, down 0.42 of a U.S. cent. With the drop, the index ended the session at its lowest closing level in over a year.

U.S. Dollar banknotes are seen in this photo illustration taken February 12, 2018.

Brent crude futures fell 40 cents to $66.23 a barrel, while USA crude was last down 33 cents at $62.68. Brent crude, the global standard, dropped 87 cents to $66.63 per barrel.

The dollar was little changed at 106.69 yen JPY= , having slipped from the week's peak of 107.680 as broader risk aversion favoured its Japanese peer.

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